A TEACH Grant can help you pay for college if you plan to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area.
You’ll be required to teach for a certain length of time, so make sure you understand your obligation.
Alert! The U.S. Department of Education (ED) adopted a standardized annual certification date for all TEACH Grant recipients in 2019. This change simplifies the annual certification requirement by having only one certification date—Oct. 31—for all TEACH Grant recipients. Read more about the new TEACH Grant annual certification date.
On Aug. 14, 2020, ED published new regulations that make changes to certain TEACH Grant Program requirements. We are working to implement these changes and will publish more details in the coming months.
A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is different from other federal student grants because it requires you to agree to complete four years of qualifying teaching as a condition for getting the grant; and if you don’t complete your teaching service obligation, the grant will turn into a loan that you must repay in full, with interest.
Who can get a TEACH Grant?
To be eligible for a TEACH Grant, you must do the following:
What is a TEACH Grant?
The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.
As required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the sequester law), any TEACH Grant that is first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2019, and before Oct. 1, 2020, must be reduced by 5.9% from the award amount for which a recipient would otherwise have been eligible; and any TEACH Grant that is first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2021, must be reduced by 5.7% from the award amount for which a recipient would otherwise have been eligible. For example:
- For any 2019–20 or 2020–21 TEACH Grant first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2019, and before Oct. 1, 2020, the maximum award of $4,000 is reduced by 5.9% ($236), resulting in a maximum award of $3,764.
- For any 2020-21 TEACH Grant first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2021, the maximum award of $4,000 is reduced by 5.7% ($228), resulting in a maximum award of $3,772.
As a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve in which you agree to (among other requirements) teach
- in a high-need field;
- at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families; and
- for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which you received the grant.
Note: If you do not meet the requirements of your service obligation, all TEACH Grants you received will be converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans. You must repay these loans in full, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
ED has established a process for certain TEACH Grant recipients whose TEACH Grants were converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans to request reconsideration of the conversions. You can request a reconsideration if you met or are meeting the TEACH Grant service requirements within the eight-year service obligation period, but had your grants converted to loans because you did not comply with the annual certification requirement.
What is a TEACH-Grant-eligible program?
A TEACH-Grant-eligible program is a program of study that is designed to prepare you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field and that leads to a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or is a postbaccalaureate program. A two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree is considered a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree. A postbaccalaureate program is not TEACH-Grant-eligible if it is offered by a school that also offers a bachelor’s degree in education.
Schools that participate in the TEACH Grant Program determine which of the programs they offer are TEACH-Grant-eligible. A program that is TEACH-Grant-eligible at one school might not be TEACH-Grant-eligible at another school. Additionally, even if a program meets the eligibility requirements to be a TEACH-Grant-eligible program, it may not be designated as TEACH-Grant-eligible by the school. Contact the financial aid office at the school you are attending (or that you plan to attend) to find out which programs at that school are eligible.
If I’m interested in receiving a TEACH Grant, where can I get more information?
Contact the financial aid office at the school where you will be enrolled to find out whether the school participates in the TEACH Grant Program and to learn about the programs of study at the school that are TEACH-Grant-eligible.
What are high-need fields?
High-need fields are
- bilingual education and English language acquisition,
- foreign language,
- reading specialist,
- science, and
- special education, as well as
- any other field that has been identified as high-need by the federal government, a state government, or a local education agency, and that is included in the annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing (Nationwide List).
If you plan to teach in a high-need field that is included in the Nationwide List, that field must be listed for the state where you teach either at the time you begin your qualifying teaching service or at the time you received a TEACH Grant.
What is a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve?
Each year that you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign an Agreement to Serve on the TEACH Grant page. The agreement explains the terms and conditions for receiving a TEACH Grant. By signing the Agreement to Serve, you agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that if you do not fulfill the service obligation described in the agreement, the TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a loan that you must repay.
What are the terms and conditions of the TEACH Grant service obligation?
In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must agree to the following:
- You must serve as a full-time teacher for a total of at least four academic years within eight years after you complete or otherwise cease to be enrolled in the program(s) for which you received TEACH Grant funds.
- You must perform the teaching service as a highly qualified teacher at a low-income school or educational service agency.
- Your teaching service must be in a high-need field.
- You must provide ED with documentation of your progress toward completing your service obligation.
- If you do not meet the requirements of your service obligation, all TEACH Grants you received will be converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans. You must repay these loans in full, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
If you receive TEACH Grants for more than one TEACH-Grant-eligible program, you have a separate four-year service obligation for each program. However, in some cases the same period of teaching service may satisfy some or all of each service obligation. Refer to your TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve for more information and examples.
How can I identify schools or educational service agencies that serve low-income students?
Elementary and secondary schools (public and private) and educational service agencies serving low-income students are listed in the annual Teacher Cancellation Low-Income Directory. In addition, elementary or secondary schools operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) or operated on Indian reservations by Indian tribal groups under contract or grant with the BIE qualify as low-income schools.
Can a TEACH Grant service obligation ever be suspended or canceled?
You may request a temporary suspension of the eight-year period for completing your TEACH Grant service obligation based on the following situations:
- Your enrollment in a TEACH-Grant-eligible program or your enrollment in a program that a state requires you to complete in order to receive a certification or license to teach in that state’s elementary or secondary schools. For example, if you received a TEACH Grant for an undergraduate program and you later enroll in a graduate program for which you would be eligible to receive a TEACH Grant, you could receive a suspension of the eight-year period for completing your service obligation for the undergraduate program while you are enrolled in the graduate program.
- A condition that is a qualifying reason for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- A call or order to active duty status for more than 30 days as a member of the armed forces reserves, or service as a member of the National Guard on full-time National Guard duty under a call to active service in connection with a war, military operation, or national emergency.
Suspensions are granted in one-year increments, not to exceed a combined total of three years for the first two conditions listed above, or a total of three years for the third condition. If you receive a suspension, the eight-year period for completing your service obligation is put “on hold” during the suspension period. For example, if you receive a one-year suspension after two years of the eight-year period for completing your service obligation have elapsed, you would have six years left to complete your service obligation when the one-year suspension period ends.
Your TEACH Grant service obligation may be canceled (discharged) if you die or if you become totally and permanently disabled.
You may also receive a discharge of some or all of your four-year teaching requirement if you are called or ordered to qualifying military active duty for a period that exceeds three years.
The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve that I signed says that each year I must either submit documentation showing that I have completed a year of qualifying teaching service, or must certify that I intend to satisfy my service obligation. What is the deadline for meeting this annual requirement?
The next deadline for all TEACH Grant recipients to submit documentation of completed teaching service or to certify intent to satisfy the service obligation is Oct. 31, 2020.
Note: This requirement for TEACH Grant recipients to annually provide documentation showing that they have completed a year of qualifying teaching service or to certify their intent to satisfy the TEACH Grant service obligation is separate from the initial 120-day certification requirement. The Oct. 31, 2020, annual deadline does not apply to the 120-day certification requirement.
As explained in your Agreement to Serve, each year you must provide ED’s TEACH Grant servicer, FedLoan Servicing, with (1) documentation showing that you have completed a full school year of qualifying teaching service, or (2) a certification that you intend to satisfy the terms and conditions of your TEACH Grant service obligation. The documentation of teaching or certification of intent must be submitted to FedLoan Servicing by an annual certification date.
Each year at the beginning of October, the TEACH Grant servicer, FedLoan Servicing, will notify you and tell you how to submit your documentation of progress towards completing your TEACH Grant service obligation, or your certification of intent to satisfy the service obligation.
If you do not submit your documentation of progress or certification of intent by Oct. 31 and do not respond to reminder notices from FedLoan Servicing, all TEACH Grants you received will be converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans. You must then repay these loans to ED, with interest charged from the date the TEACH Grants were disbursed (paid to you). FedLoan Servicing will notify you if your TEACH Grants are converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
Who can answer questions I have about my TEACH Grant annual certification date?
If you have questions about your TEACH Grant annual certification date, contact the TEACH Grant servicer, FedLoan Servicing, at 1-800-699-2908 from 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.